Valve today announced a new "Recommended For You" game referral feature for its PC and Mac game platform Steam
, using aggregate purchase data and the power of social networks to provide suggestions.
Users on both the Steam web site and the downloadable Steam client are now able to see games the service judges are similar to games they have viewed or purchased.
The service makes these recommendations automatically by analyzing which other games are also purchased by users who purchase the product in question.
Steam users can now also recommend games to their friends, and have those recommendations appear in those friends' Steam Community News Blotters.
The new service is similar to Apple's "genius" app recommendation feature on iTunes, and to the personalized recommendation system used to suggest similar products on Amazon.com's online marketplace.
The ability to introduce users to new titles they'd be interested in has been an issue for many digital storefronts. Games that are not listed prominently on those services' "top sellers" lists can sometimes have a hard time finding attention amidst quickly swelling ranks of competition.
Companies like Sony have also noted this issue. "In the past when the business was an unconnected business you relied on people filling out registration cards to know what they liked," Sony VP Peter Dille said in a recent interview
"Fortunately today, just like when you go to Amazon it knows what you like, when you come back to the PlayStation Network, we can identify what you like as a gamer. Are you a sports gamer? Are you into shooters, etc? We can do a better job at marketing directly to people and tailor to those interests."